Project Acorn: New Year, new activities

As we enter a new decade, Project ACORN announced 15 new activities for the program’s 15th season including three concerts featuring popular regional artists, beautiful hikes and history lessons in neighboring Perry and Crawford Counties, inspiration for art from area retirees, two documentary films about global warming and the mystic St. Hildegard von Bingen, a fun soup swap, two stellar plays by the National Players, an MLK tribute, a geologist speaker, and a huge migratory bird festival. 

An acronym for Art, Community, Originality, Rhythm, and Nature, the homegrown, grassroots, mostly-volunteer program offers diverse and creative events that encourage friendships, explore new ideas, and build camaraderie. Enthusiastic area and national artisans, healers, singer-songwriter-musicians, environmental advocates, etc., offer (often free of charge) classes, workshops, theatrical events, hikes, films, concerts, field trips, and more for all ages, focusing on the themes of music, art, environmental awareness, and wellness.

The spirit of Project ACORN honors and supports the gifts of Ferdinand and neighboring citizens to plant seeds of awareness, spread joy, and nurture community. 

“We’re grateful to the dozens of leaders and over 2,500 participants for making the program such a fun and meaningful experience in the community and in our lives,” stated chair Rock Emmert. “And a special thank you to the Ferdinand News and all our advertisers.”

Since June of 2016, Project ACORN has facilitated 210 events.

It will be posted later this week at

Field trip to One-Dubois County / Trinity UCC event in JasperTrinity United Church of Christ, 310 W. 8th St.Sunday, Jan. 19, 5:30 pm ET, depart Ferdinand Library at 5:00 pm ET
2.  THE ELEVENTH HOUR DOCUMENTARY FILMThursday, Jan. 23, 7:00 – 8:45 pm ET, St. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, Ferdinand 
3. HEMLOCK AND BEYONDSaturday, Jan. 25, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm ET,  9:00 am ET breakfast at Schwartz RestaurantHoosier National Forest, Crawford Co.
4. REDWOOD PRESERVATION SOCIETY IN CONCERTSaturday, Feb. 1, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ET, St. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, Ferdinand
5.  WINTER SOUP SWAPThursday, Feb. 6, 6:30 – 8:00 pm ET
Soup-n-Such Bistro in the Wollenmann Home

by Alexander Johnson

Sunday, Feb. 9, 10:30 – 12 noon ET, depart from Ferdinand Library at 9:45 am ET.  Indian-Celina Lake Recreational Area, State Road 37, Perry County

by Dr. Stephen Obermeier

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET, Ferdinand Library

Saturday, Feb. 22, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ET, St. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, Ferdinand


Field trip to  Humphrey’s Park, Linton

Saturday, Feb. 29, depart Ferdinand Library at 9:00 am ET

Thursday, March 5, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ET, St. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, Ferdinand11.  RIVER OF TIME: A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF DERBY, INDIANAby Joe Hall
Sunday, March 8, 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET, Smackwater Cove Bar and Grille Family Room
by William Shakespeare, presented by the National PlayersFriday, March 13, 8:00 pm ET, depart from Ferdinand Library at 7:00 pm ETSt. Meinrad Archabbey, Bede Theatre  

13. THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK presented by the National Players
Saturday, March 14, 8:00 pm ET, depart from Ferdinand Library at 7:00 pm ETSt. Meinrad Archabbey, Bede Theatre  

Friday, March 20, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ET, St. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, Ferdinand
15.  AN ARTFUL RETIREMENTby Judy Thomas-Hall and Beth Stein
Tuesday, March 24, 7:00 – 8:00 pm ET
Ferdinand Branch Library, Community Room

1. Honoring MLK’s Legacy
Field trip to One-Dubois County / Trinity UCC event

Sunday, Jan. 19, 5:30 pm ET, depart Ferdinand Library at 5:00 pm ET
Trinity United Church of Christ, 310 W. 8th St., Jasper
All ages
Canned good for Community Food Bank welcomed.  
To join caravan, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.

This event honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a celebration of ideals and values that hopefully will inspire us to greater service in our country and community. All are welcomed. Please feel free to attend all or any portion of the evening:

5:30 pm ET: Community art project, inviting contributions of visions of peace, love, and action.

6:00 – 7:00 pm ET: A free community meal, including soups, breads, and desserts. To share a soup or dessert, please let Tara know at

7:00 – 8:00 pm ET: A service in the sanctuary dedicated to the work and life of Dr. King, featuring community members reading works of King and inspirational selections by The Celebration Singers.   

2. The Eleventh Hour, Documentary Film
Thursday, Jan. 23, 7:00 – 8:45 pm ETSt. Benedict’s Brew Works TheatreAll ages, parents’ discretionFreeLimit: 40No advance registration required
The Eleventh Hour is the last moment when change is possible. The film, one of the most important and informative documentaries of our time, explores how humanity arrived at this moment—how we live, how we impact the earth’s ecosystems, and what we can do individually and collectively to change our course. The film emphasizes that we must raise our level of consciousness about the inter-connectivity of all life since all life as we know it is in the balance. Understanding the issues leads to caring about them. The film features voices from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, former head of the CIA, R. James Woolsey, and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau in addition to over 50 leading scientists, thinkers, and leaders who discuss the most important issues that face our planet, humans, and all life on earth. Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, the 2007 acclaimed film lasts one hour and 32 minutes and is rated PG. Teachers and students are invited to attend.3. Hemlock and Beyond hike led by Mary Hess Saturday, Jan. 25, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm ETOptional meet for breakfast at Schwartz Family Restaurant, 9:00 am ET 
Hemlock Cliffs, Hoosier National ForestAll ages
Limit: 10Hiking level: difficult Please wear hiking shoes and bring water.
To register and more info, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.
Join Mary Hess on a scenic winter hike to Hemlock Cliffs and a few other adjacent wonders. “A winter hike opens your eyes to beautiful outcropping of rocks far beyond the trail,” she states. “We’ll explore what Mother Nature hides in her full foliage of spring, summer, and fall.” 
Hemlock’s natural beauty in southern Indiana features a cliffs over feet tall. A cool climate, created by the box canyon shape, sandstone and limestone rock formations, and waterfalls create the unique trees and plants that grow there. This Crawford County jewel has long been a popular destination for people seeking tranquility and a space for reflection and wonder. A 1.2 mile hiking trail leads down into the ancient stone ravine under a lush canopy of large trees and past high seasonal waterfalls and massive icicles in winter. Archaeological excavations indicate Native Americans lived in the canyon as early as 10,000 years ago, where the rock shelters provided protection to the canyon’s early occupants. Visit for more info.
Mary lives in Dale and is semi-retired. She currently devotes her time to stopping the coal-to-diesel refinery in Dale. In her free time she likes to hike in the woods and kayak because “Every time I go out, God opens my eyes to something new.”

4. Redwood Preservation Society in Concert

Saturday, Feb. 1, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ETSt. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, FerdinandAll ages$5 suggested admission, cash onlyLimit: 70, first come, first servedNo advanced ticket sales
“Making music, the right kind of music, makes you grow,” states singer-songwriter Rich Mullins. Growing in popularity in the regional music scene, Redwood Preservation Society is back by popular demand, having developed new, appreciative fans on the main stage at the 10th annual Ferdinand Folk Festival. With their soothing melodies and tender harmonies, Redwood Preservation Society offers up a soul-quieting, light acoustic, folk-Americana sound with troubadour poetry layered on top for dramatic effect. Singer-songwriter David Warren started performing under the RPS moniker in 2014. Guitarist Michael Flake joined in 2017, and his delicate leads were accented further in the spring of 2018 when Jennifer Vela rounded out the trio as an additional vocalist. For more info, visit
Enjoy a wonderful evening of live music in the intimate brewery theatre. Craft beer, craft root beer, handmade pizza, artisan monastery pretzels, and more will be available. Food and drinks are welcomed in the theatre.

5.  Winter Soup Swap
Thursday, Feb. 6, 6:30 – 8:00 pm ETSoup-n-Such Bistro in the Wollenmann HomeAll agesFree; drinks and desserts available to purchaseLimit: 12Registration required. RSVP (text or call) Kris at 812-631-2020. 
Archaeologists note evidence of soup making as far back in human history as 6000 BC. They also suggest that the earliest hot creation was likely hippopotamus soup. Soups have long been considered nutritional and comforting meals, especially when the temperature starts dropping outside. Do you have a cherished family soup recipe that makes the winter cold easier to bear? Please say it’s not hippopotamus soup. Regardless, dig out that recipe, gather those ingredients, and start cooking. Create a crockpot of your favorite soup and join us for a fun and educational evening at Soup-n-Such. Each participant is asked to bring enough soup for the other 11 participants to sample as well as copies of the recipe. Save room for a dessert and drink. Tammy Bodella, owner and operator of Soup-n-Such, will have plenty of delicious dessert options for you to purchase. The evening will include soup-themed songs, trivia, and games. Space is limited, so make your reservation early and start stewing.  
6.  Historic Home Tour and Celina Lake Hike 

by Alexander Johnson

Sunday, Feb. 9, 10:30 – 12 noon ET 

Meet at the site or to caravan, meet at Ferdinand Library at 9:45 am ET.  

Indian-Celina Lake Recreational Area, State Road 37, Perry County

All ages


Limit: 20

Difficulty of trail: easy to moderate

To register, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.  

A tranquil getaway and architectural gem located in the Hoosier National Forest, the Rickenbaugh House is a prominent, sandstone structure built in 1874. Constructed in the Late Greek Revival style and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the dwelling was home to Jacob Rickenbaugh, his wife, and their ten children. The house also served as a post office with the position of postmaster being held by various women in the family. The house stayed in the family for four generations and was sold to the Forest Service in 1968. Touring this beautifully preserved home is stepping back in time. The Interpretive Trail behind the home features much diversity—evidence of Native American presence, a stone quarry, rock outcroppings, a historic cemetery, and more. 

Alexander Johnson grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and central Illinois and earned his B.A. in History at Illinois State University. After graduation, he worked as a park ranger in Wyoming and Montana for five years before returning to the Midwest. He has enjoyed being a visitor services information assistant in the Hoosier National Forest for the past 1.5 years. Alexander has a passion for natural and cultural history and for America’s natural resources. He lives with his wife, Kelsey, in Owensboro, Kentucky. In his spare time, he likes to play hockey, camp, and visit historic sites.

7. Southwestern Indiana Earthquake Threat

by Dr. Stephen Obermeier

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET
Ferdinand Library
All agesFreeLimit: 20To register, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.   

What is the likelihood of a major earthquake striking our area? What are the latest scientific findings about a serious hazard in our region? Join Dr. Stephen Obermeier as he talks about recent geologic/engineering studies that prove many large earthquakes have originated in the Wabash region and throughout southwestern Indiana during recent prehistoric time. For example, he will speak about a seismically-induced ground rupture in the banks of the Wabash River, caused by a prehistoric earthquake centered nearby. Richter magnitude of the earthquake approached that of the great New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12. Stephen will focus on the method for unraveling the prehistoric seismic record and applying those findings to our seismic hazard today.

Now retired from the US Geological Survey, Stephen was largely instrumental in development of the method of finding and interpreting liquefaction effects to determine the prehistoric record of strong seismicity in a region. The method has been used throughout large parts of the US, from the east to west coasts, and is now used worldwide. Findings are used to evaluate the seismic hazard in the near-future of tens to a few hundred years, because large damaging earthquakes very strongly tend to recur in the same locale. Join in this unique environmental history class and gain insights into the local science of predicting earthquakes. Knowing what has happened historically here, we might be better prepared for the future—gaining awareness that could improve our safety standards and building codes for our homes, businesses, bridges, and overall infrastructure. 

8. Steven Wagler in Concert

Saturday, Feb. 22, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ETSt. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, Ferdinand
All ages$5 suggested admission, cash only at door,No advanced ticket sales  
Limit: 70, first come, first served  
Starting out playing acoustic covers in bars as a teenager with one of his best friends, Steven Wagler slowly joined and/or started a variety of bands over the past 15 years. Along the way he has developed his own thought-provoking songs and performs solo acoustic nights around the area. His musical style varies from indie/folk to alternative rock. His lyric-driven songs are supported by a wide array of instrumentation that sets each song apart from the last in tone and feel. Steven has performed in the Ferdinand Folk Festival Singer-Songwriter Showcase, on the main stage at the Folk Fest, at Lincoln Amphitheatre, and other area venues and festivals. He opened for The Why Store with the band Breathing Rm at the Astra last year and is currently also playing with a Jasper-based group. Steven will have CDs available for $5. To learn more, visit Food and beverages may be taken into the brewery theatre. Guests are encouraged to arrive early if they wish to order a meal or light refreshments.

9. Sandhill Crane Festival in Greene County

field trip to Linton, IN

Saturday, Feb. 29, depart from Ferdinand Library at 9:00 am ET, return about 5:00 pm

Humphrey’s Park, Linton, IN 

All ages 

Admission: $5 per adult, children under 18 free.

Limit: 12

For details and registrations, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.  

The Marsh Madness Sandhill Crane Festival coincides with the peak sandhill crane and waterfowl migration at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County, Indiana. Events include 90-minute bus tours to wild bird sites, self-guided tours, live birds of prey, live reptiles and amphibians, kids’ activities, a film titled Goose Pond: The Story of a Wetland and Its Neighbors, educational presentations, an arts and craft fair, food, and much more.

Founded in 2010 and presented by the Friends of Goose Pond and Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, the festival receives support from area conservation and civic organizations and businesses. Marsh Madness, a destination for visitors from across the Midwest, celebrates the County’s abundant and beautiful natural areas. Nature’s centerpiece is the spring migration of waterfowl and cranes to the area. A primary goal of the organizers is to promote a strong conservation ethic. For more info, visit and

10. Vision, Documentary Film

about St. HildegardThursday, March 5, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ETSt. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, FerdinandAll ages, parents’ discretionFreeLimit: 40No advance registration required 
Filmed in historic, medieval cloisters of the German countryside, Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen is the inspirational portrait of a woman who has emerged from the shadows of history as a forward-thinking pioneer of faith, change, and enlightenment. The famed visionary, 12th century Benedictine, “renaissance” sister, Hildegard was a Christian mystic, composer, philosopher, playwright, poet, naturalist, scientist, physician, herbalist, and ecological activist. Reuniting with film star Barbara Sukowa, New German Cinema director Margarethe von Trotta depicts a woman centuries ahead of her time, showing fierce determination to expand the responsibilities of nuns within the order, even as she fends off outrage and accusations of heresy from some in the Church. Called “the inspired conscience of the 12th century” for her revolutionary and humanist approach to devotion, Hildegard was a multi-talented, grounded, highly intelligent woman who diplomatically fended off forces to hide her light.
The German film has English subtles and lasts one hour and 51 minutes. Vision made its European debut in 2009 and was an official selection of theTelluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Food and beverages may be taken into the brewery’s intimate theatre. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to order a meal or refreshments. To see the trailer, visit

11.  River of Time: A Photographic History of Derby, Indianaby Joe Hall

Sunday, March 8, 2:00 – 3:30 pm ETSmackwater Cove Bar and Grille Family Room
15364 Old State Rd 70, Derby, Indiana 
All agesFreeLimit: 20
To register, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.  

River towns have fascinating stories to tell, and a picture paints a thousand words. History enthusiast Joe Hall will present a glimpse back into the Ohio River town of Derby, Indiana, followed by an interactive viewing of about 20 historical photos of the town, reaching deep into the 1800s. For the majority of the presentation, Joe will display the photos and encourage everyone to participate in a fun Q and A about the images. Named after Derby, Ireland, and platted in 1835, the community has had a continuous post office in operation since 1852. 
Joe is a native of Perry County and has lived most of his life in the Derby area. He and his wife Judy live on 120 acres of woodlands affectionately called Star Hill. The name which originated when the property contained a Christmas tree farm several years ago. In addition to collecting Derby history, Joe’s hobbies include nature photography, recording the beauty of each season and capturing images of the flowers, birds, and wildlife that share their land. Joe has been an avid runner for more than 40 years and continues to find inspiration and insights as he hikes the paths and roads of Star Hill.

12. As You Like Itby William Shakespearepresented by the National Players
Friday, March 13, 8:00 pm ET, depart Ferdinand Library at 7:00 pm ETSt. Meinrad Archabbey, Bede Theatre
To register for caravan, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.  

The National Players’ 71st Anniversary season features incredible young women at the center of their stories, and the journeys they take to reshape their worlds. From Rosalind’s escape to the Forest of Arden in Shakespeare’s As You Like It to Anne’s secret annex in The Diary of Anne Frank, both stories investigate young women’s remarkable journeys of discovery and identity. 
In Shakespeare’s classic comedy As You Like It, banished from the only home she’s ever known, Rosalind escapes to the Forest of Arden with her cousin Celia and their fool Touchstone. While disguised as a man, Rosalind meets fellow outcasts in the forest, including the dashing and lovesick Orlando. Determined to woo him, Rosalind persuades Orlando in her male disguise to win her heart. For only if Orlando loves her as a man will Rosalind know he truly loves her. With a ten-person ensemble, National Players melds classic language with contemporary staging of this imaginative tale about city folk venturing into the woods—a romantic comedy about girls, boys, losing oneself, and finding oneself again. Teachers and students are encouraged to embrace this fun and free professional theatrical opportunity so close to home.

13. The Diary of Anne Frank
by Frances Goodrich and Albert HackettAdapted by Wendy KesselmanPresented by the National Players
Saturday, March 14, 8:00 pm ET, depart Ferdinand Library at 7:00 pm ET 
St. Meinrad Archabbey, Bede TheatreAll ages, parents’ discretionFreeLimit: noneTo register for caravan, RSVP (text or call) Rock at 812-631-2856.    

In 1941 Amsterdam, 13-year-old Anne Frank goes into hiding with her family from the Nazis. For the next two years, she never leaves the attic where her family is concealed. With fear of discovery ever present, Anne finds solace writing in her diary, capturing the daily lives of the secret annex’s inhabitants—from the horrors of war to the excitement of first love—with wit, determination, and idealism. With a multicultural cast, National Players brings the true story of this incredibly insightful young girl that is often read in school to the stage in hopes of inspiring the next generation to stand up for justice rather than sit back in apathy. Teachers and students are encouraged to embrace this professional and free theatrical learning opportunity so close to home.

14. Honey Vines in Concert

Friday, March 20, 7:00 – 9:00 pm ETSt. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre, Ferdinand
All agesAdmission: $10 cash only at doorLimit: 70, first come, first served, no advanced ticket sales
The Honey Vines are an acoustic blend of intertwining harmonies with a sweet truth embedded in their own material. The duo consists of Andrea Wirth and Melanie Bozsa, two guitar wielding singer-songwriters, from Newburgh, Indiana. With influences that range from folk to blues to acoustic rock, The Honey Vines’ live show delivers a soundscape of melodies and a message of peace, love and unity.

Wirth and Bozsa began playing music together in 2011. In the beginning, the duo performed on regional stages in the Midwest at wineries, restaurants, benefit shows, and community events. Becoming The Honey Vines, opportunities arrived and Wirth and Bozsa began performing on festival stages like the Ferdinand Folk Festival, Evansville’s Parks Fest, and Sarasota, Florida’s Pride Festival to name a few, and were named Power Duo by Evansville’s News4U magazine. In 2017, they released their first self-titled album, The Honey Vines, a collection of eight songs.
The duo opened Honey Vinyl Music Studio in 2013 in Newburgh where they teach introduction to guitar, piano, and vocals, catering to beginner music students with a focus on songwriting collaboration and recording. The Honey Vines are active in community events, raising awareness about child-abuse, suicide prevention, and Alzheimer’s. To keep up with The Honey Vines, visit them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and their official website Food and beverages may be taken into the brewery theatre. Guests are encouraged to arrive early if they wish to order a meal or light refreshments.

15.  An Artful Retirement  by Judy Thomas-Hall and Beth Stein 

Tuesday, March 24, 7:00 – 8:00 pm ETFerdinand Branch Library, Community Room
All agesFree
Limit: 20
To register, RSVP (text or call) Kris at 812-631-2020.

Someone once said, “Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.” Join Judy Thomas-Hall and Beth Stein as they share their discovery of painting as a fun and fullfulling expression. Judy was born in northern Missouri and never thought of becoming an artist but discovered her love of painting after retiring and moving to Perry County in 2009.  She was introduced to acrylic painting by her sister-in-law, Judith Hall, and continued her instruction under Debbie Beck of Grey Wolf Studios in Hawesville, Kentucky. Her passions include oil painting on canvas and painting on wood, old farm tools, and discarded implements. Her work includes historical pictures of Derby, Indiana, in the 1900s, family portraits, Native American inspired pieces, and images from her husband’s photography collection. Beth, who founded and served as Executive Director of Crisis Connection for 27 years, knew Judy through social services and reconnected when Judy invited Beth to attend an art class. The chance dialogue and class has led Beth to create her own collection of beautiful paintings as well. Judy and Beth will informally share sources of their inspiration and bring examples of their work. Light refreshments will be served.

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